With All-22 film readily available at our fingertips, casual fans and beat writers can play NFL experts at the touch of a button. Naturally, whenever the Packers’ offense struggles Aaron Rodgers’ play is the first thing we turn to for answers. Most commonly, his mechanics and decision making.
After a rocky to start to the offense for the 2016 season, Rodgers was questioned about his footwork and fundamentals.
“I feel pretty good about my fundamentals,” he replied. “I’m a two-time USA All-Fundamentals team. First team. I have the helmets at the house. True story.”
Rodgers’ drop back is likened to four-time Super Bowl Champion Joe Montana, who is arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time. However, Rodgers’ talent probably exceeds Montana’s when taking into account his mobility and arm talent.
After the Packers went on their run the table stretch to end the 2016 season, all was forgotten. In large part because Rodgers had one of the best six-game stretches from an NFL QB in league history.
In 2017, Rodgers was hurt, but before suffering a broken collarbone, it’s worth mentioning that he was playing quite well.
Last season, Rodgers appeared in every game but a knee injury in week one strained his mobility and overall performance the rest of the year. The Packers missed the playoffs for the second-straight year after finishing 6-9-1. Still, Rodgers performed well considering today’s quarterback standards, throwing for 4,442 yards, 25 touchdowns to only two interceptions. He did this even with a bum knee and dying leadership, a stale offense, or whatever you want to say about Mike McCarthy.
This isn’t to say Rodgers can escape all criticism. Last year, he set an NFL record for throwaways when there were times a play could be made. He also took a lot of sacks and appeared to miss open receivers. However, compared to the weapons he had at his peak, it’s not hard to see why he may think twice about throwing to some of his current options. Well, outside of Davante Adams, but that’s about it.
And yet, again, people questioned what he was doing differently in 2018.
“I don’t think I need to respond about fundamentals,” Rodgers said during week 13 of last season. “I mean, I drill the fundamentals. I throw how I throw. I’m not playing any different this year. It’s just we’re not completing as many passes percentage-wise.”
“I’m very critical of my own film,” he continued. “I’m not playing any differently, fundamental-wise. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t love it when it’s a certain way and then critique it when it’s the other way.”
Unfortunately, Rodgers’ sentiments still ring true today even though the team is winning. After Green Bay couldn’t dominate the three-win Washington Redskins last Sunday, fans and beat writers continue to stew over the negative.
Admittedly, at times the offense doesn’t look like it is performing as well as it should. It is also the first year in a new scheme under head coach Matt LaFleur. These things take time.
While we continue to break down the all-22 and examine every possible scenario, we should also remember playing quarterback is the hardest position in all of sports. Yes, Rodgers is paid handsomely to be great, but he would probably be the first to tell you he expects more of himself. That said, he isn’t perfect though sometimes we may think he is.
So, next time you’re scrolling through Twitter, and you see a breakdown of Rodgers, try to take it with a grain of salt. Quite simply, does the person who sent the tweet have all the necessary information? Probably not.
I’ll leave you with these remarks Rodgers made in 2016. Words that should be remembered each time we try to play quarterback from our chair.
“We’re not going back having sleepless nights worried about what you guys are saying about our offense. Because, you guys don’t know what plays we’re running, you don’t know where the execution is, you don’t know where the flaws in the execution lie.”
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.